When a preacher or teacher is addressing the subject of fearing man, they will inevitably use Matthew 10:28 as a reference: And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
This is a helpful text, and one that you should keep in your spiritual gunny sack when the fear of man begins to grip you, but let me suggest some more biblical truth for us to have at the ready. This verse answers the question, “What is man’s limitation on the harm he can cause someone else in view of the judgment God is capable of handing out?”
Another question that we need answered is, “What is man’s limitation on the blessing he can give someone else in view of the graciousness God is capable of handing out?” At times, we value man’s approval so much that to go without it leaves us anxious and desperate. But what does that approval give us? It might mean that a person has given us friendship, attention, respect, compassion, and/or opportunity. In less common cases, man’s approval can mean being “discovered” by a college scout, landing a dream job, or fame and fortune, but man’s approval can’t go beyond that.
You may say, “Okay, but what you just listed is pretty impressive.” Yes, until you put it next to what God can give… and does give to all who trust in his Son. Just look at some of the things we have in Christ found in Ephesians chapter one: “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places”, “redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses”, “the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us”, an “inheritance” as his adopted sons and daughters, and we have been sealed with the Holy Spirit as a “guarantee of our inheritance” (vv. 3, 7, 8, 11, 13, 14).
These things are just a portion of all we have in Christ, and unlike what man can give us, they are eternal gifts that transcend this life into the next. The next time we begin to fear not having man’s approval, let us remind ourselves of how God’s approval of us in Christ give us the greatest gifts… and the continuation of these gifts forever.